Sourdough baking is wonderful for many reasons, including the increased digestibility of the bread through the fermentation process, and its benefit to gut health. If you have been making sourdough bread recently, you may notice that you have extra starter to use, which is how this recipe was born. I have used extra starter in tortillas, pancakes, and more, but there is something great about a breakfast of warm waffles on the weekend. These are naturally leavened, with no baking soda or baking powder added, and the only flour in the batter is fermented in the levain. So, this is a great breakfast treat to make that is easy to digest. Preventing food waste while making a nutrient-dense breakfast makes these sourdough waffles a win-win.
Using bubbly sourdough starter creates a light waffle that has a slightly tangy flavor, balancing out the sweet maple syrup. When done right, they are both chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, with perfect little craters made to fill with maple syrup. This batter can come together pretty quickly, but making perfect waffles may take some practice, especially using a stove top waffle iron like I have. This recipe lends itself well to tasty additions like chopped pecans or diced fruit, and is, of course, a vehicle for all of the butter you desire.
Chewy, Crispy Sourdough Waffles Recipe
Ingredients for the levain:
• 1 to 2 Tablespoon active sourdough starter• 200 gram all-purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat flour or a blend of whole grain and all-purpose flours)
• 200 grams warm water
1. The night before you plan to make waffles, or ~8 hours ahead of time, combine your active, bubbly starter with the flour and water, and stir well to combine.
2. Cover this mixture with a cloth and let sit at room temperature to ferment. When ready to use, it will appear bubbly and light, and have a pleasant, fruity smell.
3. Alternatively, you can use leftover starter from making sourdough bread that you would otherwise be discarding. Either way, begin with your active levain to use in the waffle batter.
Ingredients for the waffles:
• 400 grams levain (bubbly, active starter from above)
• 3 Tablespoons melted butter
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 to 3 Tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
• 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
• Optional: 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• Extra butter for greasing the waffle iron
1. Heat the waffle iron while you prepare your batter, according to manufacturer’s directions or on the stovetop for a cast iron waffle iron.
2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the active starter, melted butter (cooled slightly), egg yolks, salt, vanilla, maple syrup and cream. Stir well to combine.
4. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites, being careful not to deflate them or overstir. This helps keep the waffles light and crispy. There may still be some visible pieces of egg white, which is fine.
5. Butter your waffle iron before adding batter. Using about 2/3 cup of batter per waffle (depending on your waffle iron, but this should be close to standard), add the batter to your preheated, buttered waffle iron. Let cook until crispy and golden brown on each side. For my cast iron waffle maker, this is about 3-5 minutes per side if properly preheated.
6. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping waffles warm until ready to serve--though I recommend serving immediately for the best results. Serve topped with your favorite waffle fixings and enjoy.
Note: You could make a batch of waffles ahead of time and freeze them, then pop in the toaster when the mood strikes to heat and serve.
Laura Poe Mathes is a Registered Dietitian and traditional foods instructor. She homesteads in Wisconsin where she regular contributes to Edible Madison. Connect with Laura at Laura Poe, RD, for private practice appointments (distance consults available), upcoming classes, newsletter subscriptions, and more. Her nutrient-dense recipes can be found on Laura’s blog, Brine & Broth, and you can see what she has been cooking and creating on her Instagram @brineandbroth. Read all of Laura’s GRIT posts here.